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Sharks win in final home preseason game

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks
The San Jose Sharks won 6-2 in their final preseason home game before heading overseas for an exhibition game in Mannheim, Germany.

Tonight, San Jose’s special team exploded for four powerplay goals in five opportunites tonight at HP Pavillion against the Vancouver Canucks.

“We challenged our players, our whole team, to be much better on the special teams area and I think we saw that tonight,” head coach Todd McLellan said. “It was a much better powerplay, much more effective, dangerous at time."

"On the other side of the coin, we didn’t have to penalty kill very much," McLellan said. "That was the other challenge -- to say out of the box.”

San Jose took four penalties for 11 minutes tonight compared to eight penalties for 27 minutes last night in a 3-1 loss in Vancouver.

Team Teal received goals from the usual suspects such as Joe Pavelski and Dany Heatley but they also got secondary scoring from Logan Couture, Jamie McGinn, John McCarthy, and tryout player Andreas Lilja.

“Our powerplay has been struggling this preseason so it’s nice to get four tonight,” said McGinn who scored the third powerplay goal in the second period. “It’s a good turnout for me having not scored all preseason and finally being able to find the net tonight.”

Antero Niittymaki saw time between the pipes in the second half of a back-to-back series; Fellow Fin Antti Niemi started yesterday.

Niittymaki earned his first win of the preseason making 19 of 21 saves.

“The first goal was tough. I still don’t know how it went in, but it happened. It’s done with,” Niittymaki said. “You need a lot of action in the preseason just to get your rhythm going. You don’t really worry about the goals, you just want to feel good out there.”

With tonight’s win, the Sharks are now 2-4-0 with one final preseason game in Germany left.

“We needed to win a game before we left,” McLellan said. “This was a big win for us. The fact that we had a really strong lineup against a rather young Vancouver, it was even more important that we perform well.”

Added McLellan: “Our lineup in Vancouver the other night didn’t have all of our big boys in the lineup. It’s called exhibition season. It’s called opportunity for some of the younger players. And in turn, they (Vancouver) get to see their team play in that environment. A win is a win.”

“This is one of first night in exhibition that we’ve actually had a powerplay unit together,” McLellan said. “We have Clowe, Setoguchi and Couture, that’s what we see as a unit and they are on the ice with Pavelski and Boyle, all of a sudden you have five guys who most likely will play together for awhile anyhow. We still haven’t gotten that other group together fully. It’s still a work in progress. After that it’s competition amongst everybody to see who will keep those jobs.”

Jamie McGinn, who was in the starting lineup alongside Joe Thornton and Devin Setoguchi, admits that playing with Jumbo Joe made the game extra fun tonight.

“He’s pretty unbelievable out there,” said the McGinn. “You have got to be moving your feet. I didn’t want to be that guy in the back getting an earful, that’s for sure. I just kept it simple and get the puck to his hands. Joe is pretty deadly from behind the net and you don’t know when the puck is going to bounce out at you so you have to be alert at all time.”

Prior to tonight’s game, the Sharks assigned Nick Petreck and Cam MacIntyre to the Worcester Sharks.

With the season opener about a week away, San Jose still has some roster moves to make.

However, head coach Todd McLellan said he’s been impressed with a few young players in camp so far.

Tommy Wingels and John McCarthy have both perform admirably throughout camp and stepped their game up to the point where they’ve knocked a couple of guys out,” McLellan said. “They’ve earned the right to make the trip (to Europe). It still doesn’t mean they’ll be on the opening day roster but they’re going to make the trip, we’re still in training camp and we’ll just go from there.”

Mike Moore was another player McLellan said has been doing well during camp and has earned the respects of his teammates and coaching staff.

The San Jose Sharks will fly out to Europe tomorrow and will next take on the Adler Eagles of Mannheim, Germany Saturday, Oct. 2. The game begins at 10:30 a.m. and can be seen on
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